Harleston man secures Beefeater role at Tower of London

A former Harleston man has spoken of his delight after moving to one of Britain's most popular tourist destinations after being hired as a Beefeater.

War veteran Shaun Huggins, who was raised and educated in the South Norfolk town, is getting used to his new uniform and responsibilities following his recruitment as a Yeoman Warder.

The 44-year-old former Royal Anglian Regiment soldier has joined an elite band of Royal bodyguards, nicknamed Beefeaters, which has been in existence for more than 500 years.

There are just 36 Beefeaters that work for the Royal Palaces and in the past they would have overseen prisoners at the Tower and safeguarded the crown jewels. These days, holders of the prestigious role act as tour guides of the popular tourist attraction and perform ceremonial duties.

Yeoman Warder Huggins, who joined the army at the age of 16 after leaving Archbishop Sancroft High School, in Harleston, spoke of his delight at becoming a Beefeater after 24 years of service with the Royal Anglian Regiment.

The father-of-one, who has served in Afghanistan, Bermuda, America, Germany, Denmark, and Jordan, said he decided to apply for the historic role after a visiting a friend who works as a Yeoman Warder.

'I feel very proud and honoured to be a Yeoman Warder. I think it is fascinating to be living here [in the Tower of London] with all the history that has gone on here and I am enjoying learning the role and the history of the Tower. It is more of a way of life rather than a job at the moment,' he said.

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Service personnel have to have clocked up at least 22 years in the military, be at least a colour sergeant and hold at least one medal of honour.

Yeoman Warder Huggins, who is married to Dawn, a serving warrant officer in Scotland, and has a 14-year-old son, said he was getting used to life in London and is living in a four-storey house in the grounds of the Tower.

The former Harleston man, served with the 1st Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment from 1983 to 1988 and was with the 2nd Battalion until this year where he was in the infantry. He finished his military career as a Senior Drum Major.